Mongolian peacekeepers responded with force to an attempt by uniformed soldiers to abduct three internally displaced people working on their farms near a UN base in Bentiu, South Sudan.
Deputy Commander of Sector North Forward at Bentiu, Colonel Gaurav Bagga, said peacekeepers are on maximum alert following the incident.
He said two armed soldiers in military uniforms approached five or six internally displaced people working on land close to the southern gate of the Protection of Civilian site at Bentiu.
The soldiers began harassing the workers and there was a brief animated argument before they tried to abduct three of them.
At that point, Mongolian forces at the nearby UN base were sent to intervene. After a heated debate, the soldiers left the scene and headed for nearby bush.
“After they got to what they felt was a safe distance, they started firing indiscriminately at the Mongolians. As is our practice, the Mongolians responded,” said Colonel Gaurav Bagga.
“Because they were indiscriminately firing and, we kept in mind the rules of engagement, the Mongolian peacekeepers took cover. Their first reaction was to protect the IDPs because that is our primary task. They made them lie on the ground and then they responded by firing back.”
It remains unclear if casualties were registered in the skirmish.
But President Salva Kiir this week called for restraint, saying fighting was no longer an option.
Government soldiers and rebels have previously been accused of raiding IDP camps.